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Simon (89)

AOL IM: lathosjp (Add Buddy, Send Message)

Busy Man.

Journal of Simon (89)

Saturday June 08, 2002
04:49 AM

Today's evil hack

An optimizer for Parse::RecDescent. It's not totally finished, and has a few glaring bugs in it, but it can turn this:

test: 'a' b /c/
b: bee "hlagh"
bee: 'b'
into this:

test : 'abhlaghc'
b : 'bhlagh'
bee : 'b'
I know this, because I had to write a Parse::RecDescent deparser too.

This lead to my wonder why there isn't a decent regex optimizer module around yet...

Friday June 07, 2002
09:19 AM

AFS Is Not My Favourite File System

Three kernel panics in an hour, and the damned thing still won't work. I think I preferred hacking AxKit.

Wednesday June 05, 2002
04:20 PM

Beyond Skin

Just 5 miles from India's nuclear test site, children play in the shade of the village water tank. Here in the Rajahstan desert, people say they're proud their country showed their nuclear capability. ...

Nitin Sawhney is a fantastic artist, and turned up often enough in my chillout collection that I thought I'd buy an album. I got Beyond Skin, which seemed pretty uplifting in Borders, but now I listen to it sounds amazingly bleak.

It couldn't have been timed for greater effect, both internationally and personally. (I've been reading When The Wind Blows recently, and been trying to avoid reading Hadashi no Gen. The clips on that site don't really do it justice - Eiko says she found the Hadashi no Gen series in her local library, and was too scared to even go near the shelf it was on. I would be, too.)

The idea behind the album was two-fold: first, to explore what it meant to be a British Indian - was it the religious beliefs, the skin colour, the heritage, or something else? - second, the album was very obviously inspired by India's nuclear tests four years ago. The music is haunting but subtle; the narrative is shockingly relevant.

The opening words of the album, from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee:

Today, at 1545 hours, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pohkran range.

And its closing words, from Robert Oppenheimer:

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried; most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form, and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

I suppose we all felt that, one way or another.

... Villagers say they're already suffering side effects. The government scientists say there was no radiation leak.

03:31 PM

Phrase of the day

"100% prime beef".

In response to Macdonalds paying out for not warning about the non-vegetarianness of its fries:

<lathos> "This was cooked in 100% vegetable oil" (But we dipped it in LARD before cooking it.)

<Art> Well, if people will go to a burger joint and expect it to contain what it says...
<Art> Like "100% prime beef" for example

<lathos> Some of the beef used may have integer divisors.

<lathos> I am so, so sorry.

02:44 PM

Do NOT follow this link

This is the most offensive thing I have seen for a long time. No, don't blame me, I warned you. It's not nice.
01:40 PM

Desperate Thoughts of a Desperate Man

"I wish the Apple Store sold beer. Then not only could I have beer delivered to me, it would also be tax-deductable."

Now I've got to thinking what iBeer would taste like - brewed from a publically available recipe, but with secret ingredients...

09:07 AM

I am a veritable module machine!

Mail::LocalDelivery is now in my CVS tree. Once I've ported Mail::Audit to use it, and it's back to being a nice, small, simple module again, I think we can consider M::A to be "done".

Of course, people don't like it if you do that. They need to think that a module is being "maintained", "supported" and so on; no updates means it's "stagnant" or "unmaintained". So maybe I'll bump the version number every few months and send it out again, just to keep the punters happy.

04:43 AM

Six-day weekend

Damn, I love bank holidays. Not only did I get a lot of code and writing done, I also had plenty of time to relax. On Saturday night, we had the anime night - we watched Mononoke Hime, which was so long we didn't have time for anything else - and although the turnout was low, good fun was had by all.

Sunday was spending shooting a video for Eiko, and then wandering around town. In the afternoon, we went and had a drink at Frevd's, then dinner at the Pink Giraffe. Finally, to the Angel and Greyhound, because they have a bar-billiards table, and bar-billiards is truly the game of kings.

On Monday, got up early to go meet pod and Ray outside the Science Museum in London. The Museum has a fantastic IMAX film at the moment, taken from the International Space Station, talking about the astronauts' life and work up there. I think all of us left that wanting to go up into space... Afterwards, we met up with Alastair and his son Eugene, who's horribly cute. We got tickets for the Queen musical at the Dominion, and had lunch at a cheap vegan buffet place in Greek Street. The musical itself was much fun - a really, really tacky plot and worse dialogue, but plenty of naff jokes and good music, and a great atmosphere.

Then Alastair met up with his wife, who I haven't seen in a good few years, and baby. They went off to the Palace to watch the concert, and we went to Belgo's to meet RDD and MBM for a few beers. After a nice Indian meal near Euston, we came back.

Tuesday was pretty lazy, and I couldn't really get in the mood to program, so I went and spend lots of cash on Borders, picking up some great CDs - Bert Jansch, John Martyn, Dinah Washington, and Eddi Reader, as well as some chill-out stuff. Did manage to get a bit of coding done, working on my Internet banking module, and Games::Goban. Oh, and then played go.

I woke up at 5am this morning, though, for some reason, and came into work; this was a good idea, since it meant I got lots of work on Games::Goban done - this is nearly finished now, apart from some of the "hard" routines like displaying, saving as SGF and inserting a new move.

Still, after such a nice break, it's back to screwing around with XSP. Yum.

Saturday June 01, 2002
06:28 AM

One Of Our Modules Is Missing

It has been a productive couple of days. I released three new CPAN modules and updated an old one; I did a small amount more programming on shishi, which is turning out to be much simpler than I expected. (Until we get to the garbage collection of circular referenced objects, but I may just declare that the end-user's problem.) I also had the really scary thought that, since shishi is pretty much totally re-entrant, you can very easily have sub-parsing going on by embedding one parser inside another. Yow!

We also got the rest of the editing for the Bald Guy Smoking book finished off, and that's to bed now; we just sit back and wait for the copies to appear in the post. It's weird not having to do anything in my "free time" any more.

I started thinking about this go playing program, figuring that I'd start with Games::Go::Board and go from there. And then when I sat down to code, I couldn't find Games::Go::Board anywhere on my hard disk. I even tried on CPAN (since I've been caught out several times with a newer version of a module on CPAN than on my hard drive) but it wasn't there either. I must have got fed up with it and deleted it, since I remember that there were a few things wrong with it.

It's weird, but no matter how enthusiastic I am about an idea initially, once I get a setback like that - more precisely, any time I have to redo work I know I've done before - I get really fed up and turned off the idea altogether.

But then I started thinking about it in the bath, and realised that the old Games::Go::Board code was pretty crap, and I could make a much more flexible system starting with a "generic board" class, a "referee" class to ensure moves are legal, and then additional plugin classes to do things like scoring and analysis. (Props to pdcawley for this idea, which he came up with the first time I explained Games::Go::Board to him.)

So I'll be working on the Games::Goban module either tomorrow or Tuesday, with additional modules like Games::Goban::Rules::Gomoku, Games::Goban::Rules::Renju and Games::Goban::Rules::Go to come. Then I can work on porting the Yoshikawa go estimator, and then...

Thursday May 30, 2002
08:55 AM


Wake up. Strange bed. Strange girl. Realise the bed is my own. Not so sure about the girl. It's going to be a weird day.

The world is teetering on the brink of nuclear war. As Usual. In response to this, I attend a meeting on web-based booking of training courses. Thankfully, after this, I get to have lunch and go home for what is about to be the longest weekend of my life. I'm back at work on Wednesday. In the meantime, I shall be hacking on some "research" projects - possibly documenting and finishing up the AxKit tag libraries I've been writing recently, more work on shishi, and maybe a start on this mythical go tutor. Oh, and final edits of the book. But primarily, fun software hackery. Yum!